Part of being a writer and editor for many years, or having jobs that depended on writing and editing, means that I’ve got the opposite problem: I see ideas for articles and blogs everywhere. My problem has been to carve out the time, pick one, and do it.
Here’s some starter prompts that I think most folks in and around tech would be able to do. Whether you’re a programmer, SRE, technical account manager (TAM), quality engineer, IT security professional, technical marketing, social media manager, technical writer, etc… doesn’t matter. Most of these ideas should let you put a unique spin on the topic based on your experience, role and time in job and industry.
What you wish you knew 5 years ago or when you started your job.
What you wish your colleagues knew about your job that they (clearly) don’t.
Rules for success at your job: What makes or breaks a person in your role.
Tools of the trade: What are the best tools you use daily, weekly, or regularly?
Anti-features and anti-patterns: What’s broken with common tools or practices that makes it much harder to succeed at your role or in your specific niche?
A major moment in your career: could be a transition from another role, or someone who helped you or set you on a path, or something that blocked you.
“Now it can be told” – funny stories, anecdotes, historical accounts or other tales of the road that you might not have told at the time but can share now. (Be kind to other folks in the stories, though. Change names if necessary.)
Everything I learned about _______ I learned from ________. Example, “Everything I learned about business, I learned from Breaking Bad.”
Why do you do what you do? Other than for the paycheck, obviously. Of all the jobs or careers you could’ve wound up in, why this one?
What job in your field would you be 100%, entirely unsuited for, but you respect folks who do? (Me? Finance. I’ve always been impressed that finance can forecast quarterly results reasonably well despite all the variables.)
What’s on your work playlist? What music motivates you?
What are you learning this year?
What have you been very wrong about? Pick something you were sure of, maybe even had great faith in, and learned it was wrong. Get that off your chest.
What’s your favorite event? If you do or have done a lot of events, which one stands out?
Tips on speaking at, attending, or running an event. (Or one of each, if you’ve done all the above!)
Let the SEO flow: Pick some keywords you’d like to “own” and craft around that.
Favorite (work-related) book, and why. Don’t just tell me it’s good, explain what’s good about it and why everybody should read it.
How have automation or Machine Learning changed your job? How might they in the next 5 or 10 years?
Daily ritual: Is there a process you follow to get ready for the day?
GTD, Pomodoro, Taskwarrior, Trello… what tools and processes do you use to stay focused, organized, and productive?
That’s just a few to get folks started. I could do another set if folks find it useful.
Really, the key is to start and be too hung up on creating a perfect blog post, nor minding much if there’s not much of an audience at the start (or ever). The process of writing, putting thoughts out for others to pick through, is useful in its own right whether you get 10 visitors or 10,000. (Though, admittedly, bigger numbers can be more satisfying.)